What is Brave Rewards?
Brave Rewards is a feature in Brave which lets you anonymously support the sites you visit. When you enable Brave Rewards, your browser will automatically start tallying the attention you spend on sites you visit. Decide how much to fund your wallet, and Brave Payments will automatically send that amount to the sites you’ve visited, divided up based on your attention, once a month. You can remove sites you don’t want to support, or tip creators directly too.
All of this is anonymous: nobody (not even us here at Brave) can see who supported which sites. We can only count up the total support for each site and send the BAT their way. Of course, you can always check in your browser to see which sites you’ve supported and decide which ones you want to support in the coming month.
Do I have to pay Brave to go ad-free?
No, Brave will always be free to use — you don’t need to pay to block ads and tracking. We encourage you to support your favorite publishers with Brave Rewards, or get compensated for paying attention to Brave Ads, but these features are both completely voluntary. You can use one, the other, both, or neither.
What do you learn about me when I use Brave Rewards?
Basically nothing. Over the course of the month, your browser tallies the attention you spend on sites — that’s all happening locally on your computer, we don’t see it. At the end of the month, we use a special voting protocol so that everyone can make sure their contributions go to the right place without actually revealing who’s contributing to which sites.
Brave Payments uses a technology called Anonize that permits anonymous-but-accountable transactions. Here’s an analogy from the real world: someone walks into a polling place, identifies themselves, and gets a ballot and an envelope. They go into a voting booth, mark the ballot, put the ballot in the envelope, and seal it. They then drop the envelope in a ballot box. The people running the polling place and counting the ballots know that each person putting an envelope in the ballot box is authorized to vote, but they aren’t able to determine which envelope in the ballot box goes with which person. In the case of anonize, a special branch of cryptography called “Zero Knowledge Proofs” are used to achieve the same result.
What does it mean that a user can opt into receiving ads?
Brave blocks ads and trackers by default. We will soon release the ability for users to opt into receiving some ads. We will offer this option as another way — beyond Brave Payments — that users can support publishers. When they do appear, there will be fewer but higher quality ads. Rest assured, that even if you opt into receiving these ads, trackers will still be blocked and your privacy will still be protected. We will provide more detail around this feature when it is ready.
Will you use the "Acceptable Ads" model?
Some have asked that when we do eventually allow select ads through, whether we will employ the “Acceptable Ads” model. There are two parts to that model, filter rules and business deals. Take the second first:
We do not use the business model of taking annual fees from advertisers to allow their ads (and trackers for confirmation) to pass unblocked. Our business model does not couple our ad and flat fee based revenue to which ads we block.
We do use some of the filter rules that are associated with “Acceptable Ads” to block known-bad domains and URL patterns; and to block and clean up after HTML-native ads.
Why build a browser and not extensions for top browsers?
Extensions face API and performance limits. Additionally, popular extension stores often host malicious counterfeit extensions, which have lead to millions of infected users. Building our own browser lets us put our best foot forward on matters of speed and privacy. We may do extensions if our users find themselves browsing in other browsers often.
How do you relieve concerns that you are spyware?
- We use all-open source, and we welcome help in auditing our source and verifying our binaries on Debian Linux (verified binaries provably derive from a given version of open source). See https://brendaneich.com/2014/01/trust-but-verify/ for more on verified builds.
- Beyond this lower-level auditing, we will need partners to believe in our anonymous ad attribution and conversion confirmation system. More on this as we build it out in near-term milestones on the road to Brave 1.0.
Will you standardize your intent-casting protocol?
We intend to when multiple partners in different regions have helped shake it out. It’s a capital mistake to standardize prematurely, so we must first innovate, deploy, and learn.
Are all ads blocked or can users allow some or all?
Ads and trackers are blocked by default. You can allow ads and trackers in the preferences panel. Later, as mentioned above, Brave will let you opt into receiving a reduced ad load that comes without trackers, maintains your privacy and helps support the publishers you like.
Where will the ads in Brave’s new system come from? In what way is this an improvement?
In 2016, Brave introduced proposal for a private and anonymous third-party ad-replacement system. We are pleased that it generated an informed and vital debate regarding the problem of uncontrolled trackers and ad exchanges, which in the worst cases spread malware through unaware publishers.
In 2017, we are focusing on the Basic Attention Token (BAT), and the ecosystem that it will enable, offering users and publishers a better way to fund the Web. With BAT (along with staking users with a share of tokens), Brave will work to offer privately-matched, anonymously-verified ads. Users can opt-into this.
Brave is working with verified publishers (hundreds of whom have already joined via publishers.brave.com) to help generate greater revenue per user than they receive from today’s broken ad-tech ecosystem.
More information regarding the Basic Attention Token is available at: https://basicattentiontoken.org
The blog post mentions that ads are targeted based on browser-side intent signals. What are these signals?
As mentioned above, the browser knows almost everything you do. It knows what sites you visit, how much time you spend on them, what you look at, what is visible “above the fold” and not occluded by opaque layers, what searches you make, what groups of tabs you open while researching major purchases, etc.
Only the browser, after HTTPS terminates and secure pages are decrypted, has all of your private data needed to analyze user intent. Our auditable open source browser code protects this intent data on the client device. Our server side has no access to this data in the clear, nor does it have decryption keys. We do not run a MitM proxy or VPN service.
We provide signals to the browser to help it make good decisions about what preferences and intent signals to expose to maximize user, publisher and advertiser value. Each ad request is anonymous, and exposes only a small subset of the user’s preferences and intent signals to prevent “fingerprinting” the user by a possibly unique set of tags.
What might you use the anonymized history data for?
We have no plans to use aggregated history data for ads. There’s too much risk of re-identification via data leakage. Anything we build that might use differential privacy for other than crash and fault reporting will require a separate opt-in by the Brave user, and entail a greater revenue share via the BAT.
Why doesn’t Brave block search ads, for example on Google search engine result pages?
While we will block third-party cookies where you have no first-party relationship with the cookie’s domain, we don’t block first party cookies by default. However, the Brave user will have the option to selectively block/enable cookies globally or on a site-by-site basis. Google will only have the ability to track you within their own domain and they won’t be able to use that information to target you outside of google.com.
Will Brave sell user data to advertisers?
As earlier answers explain, we do not even have access to identifiable user data. The anonymized aggregated ad campaign related data we do collect is used for accounting and reporting, but this data cannot be mapped back to devices or user identities of any kind.
Is Brave Software Hiring?
We are actively seeking individuals who share our vision for a more private, safe, and secure web. To view current positions, visit our Jobs page. Applicants are encouraged to apply directly―not by means of a recruiter or other representation.
How do I report a security issue?
The new Brave browser blocks the ads and trackers that slow you down, chew up your bandwidth, and invade your privacy. Brave even lets you contribute to your favorite creators automatically.
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